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Inspiring brands to be present and connected during COVID-19

Businesses of all sizes are having to look at creative ways to keep the lights on. In the tourism space, we are seeing inspirational messages being shared, encouraging future travellers to dream and visit, later as Cecelia Adjei discovers.

Simple, effective call to action echoing guidance from authorities while sharing messages of their own will help brands remain front of mind when the current situation changes. It also provides an opening for continuity messaging, something warm and inviting like, we’re still open, we’re delighted to help you plan your next adventure or simply come back. By adopting this approach, brands also seem more human, the common sentiment is that we’re all in this together.

Some destination marketing organisations (DMOs) have done a great job with this:

VisitPortugal — ‘Can’t Skip Hope

South Africa — ‘Don’t travel now so you can travel later’

Scotland — ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’

VisitBritain & St. Lucia Tourism Authority were among the DMOs recognised by Skift (a travel media intelligence platform) for finding creative ways to keep their audiences and travellers-to-be engaged and encouraged.

Those recognised demonstrated their ability to navigate the current atmosphere, bringing a sense of hope, positive vibes and consideration. They have pivoted their marketing to make it relevant to the times and ensured the tone is confident, light and considered.

Keeping in touch with the community, your audience and would-be audience is important currently. Yes, we’re facing a global pandemic, but it will not last forever. If you can, don’t disappear. We’ll remember who rode this out with us, the brands that were natural.

Here are some tips to stay visible with your audiences.

  1. STAY CONNECTED Don’t disappear, pivot if needs be. Don’t stop sending emails, test out a new feature on the social media channels perhaps. Be smart and considerate.
  2. TEST IT OUT Playtime! Have you been wanting to try a new email strategy? A feature on a social channel? A product? Anything low cost that you’ve been wanting to try. Now is the time. Your audience awaits.
  3. REVISIT YOUR VALUES Remind yourself, your team, stakeholders what makes you tick. A morale booster perhaps. It’s always beneficial to take time and look inwards to see outward.
  4. PAY ATTENTION Again, be present, listen to your audience. As consumer behavior changes to adapt to this situation, you should be ready to adapt too.
  5. PLAN What? “But, resources are so uncertain at the moment”, I hear you say. Well, dream and scale accordingly when you can. It’s not easy to do in times like this but if you’ll be able to withstand this storm there will be new normal. Get ready.

To wrap this up. It’s a tough time for marketers. Brands are having to be creative and mindful not to be insensitive and rightly so. Approach with caution and be sensitive and be smart. As mentioned, it is important not to disappear completely. If it is wise to scale back your regular communications, then do so but be present.

DMOs share relevant and well-timed messages, be creative, send uplifting messages through inspiring travel stories.

Cecelia Adjei

Cecelia manages the non-commercial partnerships activity across areas of film, sport, fashion, food and music at VisitBritain, the national tourism agency for Britain. Managing VisitBritain’s portfolio of brand partnerships includes developing strategies for campaign delivery and leading on develop-ing compelling international marketing campaigns to encourage tourism visitors to Britain. Visit-Britain uses recognised titles and characters to build fully integrated campaigns. Cecelia has worked on exciting screen tourism partnerships, including: Kingsman: The Golden Circle, King Ar-thur: Legend of the Sword, BFG, Spectre, Paddington Bear, Minions, Victoria, and Downton Abbey. No one day is the same in Cecelia’s world. She is also responsible for supporting teams in forming suitable partnerships for campaign activity across VisitBritain & VisitEngland. Cecelia manages the recruitment of lifestyle content partners, working across PR and content.